Tips & Tricks to Repot your Houseplants in 5 Easy Steps

Posted by Erika Browning on

Are indoor plants tricky for you too?

                  stickfiguregirl death plant cactus die GIF    Motivation Plants GIF by LookHUMAN

Well…good news…you are not alone! 

I could drag out the entire blog post and make you search and guess for the reason why, but I’ll go ahead and tell you now.

In a word…drainage…  Or lack there of, in our case.

The key to your houseplants thriving is all about water, drainage, and the management of both. 

So here’s the deal – some planters make the management of water and drainage easier in the way of drain holes.  Planters made for outdoor use generally have drainage holes.  Outside, this isn’t a problem!  If you overwater, the water can pass through the drainage hole out onto the concrete or grass.  No harm, no foul. 

But we don’t have that luxury indoors.    

A lot of the beautiful planters for indoors that you see and love and want to add to your home décor, do not have drainage holes (see below).  Nor would you want them to.


And why not?  Well there are a couple of reasons.  But the main reason is because we don’t want to water our plants, accidentally overwater them, have the water spill onto our furniture and cause warping or stains or other damage.

Since there is no easy way for them to drain (aka lack of drainage hole), it is much easier to over water our indoor plants.  And if you accidentally water them too heavily, the soil becomes soggy. 

Is soggy soil a problem?  Yes….

Here are a few of the problems that soggy soil can lead to for your indoor plants:

  • Root rot
  • Mold
  • Promotion of pests
  • Wilting
  • Yellowing of leaves
  • Browning of leaves
  • Falling leaves
  • Slower rate of growth


So what do we do for our indoor plants?   

Well you are in luck because that is what this blog post is about!  I will take you step-by-step on how I transfer my plants into indoor planters that do not have drainage holes.  And…how I help manage the drainage problem!


So let’s start:

Ok – so here is our selection of indoor plants.  Be sure that when you are picking plants that you pay attention to the plant’s needs.  How much sun do they require, if any?  Do they prefer shade only?  Do they prefer more dry soil or more damp soil? 


But I have a good selection here of plants that are pretty easy – moderate soil and prefer a lot of shade.  (Disclaimer:  I’ll have to make sure the Rosemary is in a sunny place – it likes full sun.)


Planters with no drainage holes:

In case you didn’t know exactly what I was talking about before, here is a selection of indoor planters (available at The Corner Haven).  But as you can see…no drainage holes.



So here we go….


Step 1:

Put a layer of river rock in the bottom of the planters.  This is my number ONE trick.  Now why do I do that?  It gives a little space in the bottom of the planter for extra water to collect – instead of it super saturating the soil and making it soggy.  It also makes it easier to pour out any extra water that collects in the bottom.   *Remember:  drainage control is the key to happy indoor plants. 




Step 2:

Next, fill the container about 1/3 of the way up with indoor potting soil.  Exactly how much potting soil you will need depends on the size of the planter and of the actual plant.  (Some plants come in bigger pots, for example.)  You may need to add more or less.



For reference, this is the potting soil that I used (see pic below).  It is specifically formulated for indoor plants.  There are MANY to choose from.  This particular soil has extra perlite.  What is perlite you ask?  Perlite is a mineral product that is added to soil and are those little white balls in the soil you see.  The purpose of perlite to keep the soil from becoming impacted and helps with drainage.  In other words, it helps keep the soil aerated and the keeps the soil less soggy.



Step 3

Remove your plants from their plastic containers and loosen the root ball that has formed in the bottom. 

When you first take them out of their plastic containers the root ball is really compacted (see below).



So in order to help them take root, you should loosen that up.




Step 4

Place your plant in the pot and fill extra soil around it.  You can pack down the soil at the top (a little – don’t go crazy).  Take care to make sure the plant and the soil fall below the top of the planter (see below).  In other words, the soil level should not be even with the top of the planter.  You should have ¼” to ½” clearance at the top. 




Step 5

Water you newly replanted houseplant!  Now don’t go crazy.  Add a little water.  You may find you need to add a little more soil at the top of the plant and that is fine. 

So just add a little water and then recheck in a couple of days.  Typically between waterings, you want the soil on top to be dry.



You have your newly repotted houseplant as part of your home décor.  Nothing brings more life to a space than greenery.  Enjoy!



                       Click here to check out the planters we used!

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